Bewildering Beliefs

Sometimes, out of the blue, comes a lump, a painful lump. It is somewhere between my throat and my chest – sometimes higher, sometimes lower.

A sadness, a sense of mourning. I am not always sure what that sadness is over. There are lots of things that go on in this world that grieve me. But I also know that our future is incredibly bright, and will include healing on a scale hard to comprehend.

Landscape, Fantasy, Night, Darling, Star, Lake

Someone said something to me recently which shocked me. This person is someone I am very fond of and admire. They were expressing their beliefs, and I respect people have beliefs, and they may be very sincerely cherished beliefs, but I was shocked.

I am not going to repeat every word of our conversation but they referred to their beliefs including karma, reincarnation, past lives, pre-destination. I expressed my belief in free will and that we can choose to listen to the wise guidance of our Creator or to ignore it, but we are accountable for our choices, our choices have consequences. We can learn from our mistakes and change our course. I said that I feel as if our Creator is like a loving father who deeply cares about us as we grow, and yearns for us to make wise choices. He takes no pleasure in seeing his creatures suffer, and is deeply hurt when his intelligent creatures choose willfully to do what is wrong.

But what the other person went on to say shocked me. I cannot comprehend it still. Maybe they said it without thinking. Maybe they did not realize the impact of their words towards me.

Basically, they said that the only explanation for horrendous crimes towards innocent women and children – like rape and abuse – must be what they have done in their “past lives”. My jaw dropped. I was so deeply appalled.

It was about a month ago….but it’s been on my mind ever since. Beliefs can steer a person’s life, but they can also shape their outlook on the rest of the world, on what they see on the news or read in the newspapers. Indeed beliefs can have a profound influence on how we act and how we react to injustice, to the suffering of ourselves or others, to the disturbing events in this world.

10 thoughts on “Bewildering Beliefs”

  1. I think people say things like this as a self-defense mechanism. The horror is too vast to accept, so they protect their heart by coming up with an absurd rationale for it, along the lines of it somehow being “deserved.” It’s still shocking to hear, especially when one, like you, has been an innocent victim of tragedy…

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    1. It astonished me Paula. It touches me on a personal level because of what happened to me, but through my work as a volunteer I am also aware of the most awful acts carried out to tiny babies and small children. How anyone could imagine that anyone would allow things like that as a punishment is incomprehensible to me.

      It can be a difficult subject, and beliefs can be very challenging to discuss without causing pain to someone in some way. At the time I was almost speechless. I did say a few words in a very tactful way to express that I did not agree, and we ended the conversation with a positive note. But I still cannot come to terms with anyone believing that innocent victims of horrendous crimes might be experiencing punishment for “past lives”. It is a disgraceful idea.

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  2. I read that twice – that really is a shocking thing to say, and I can only hope the person who said it was not thinking clearly. They need to know that innocent victims are exactly that – innocent – and that nobody, let alone a God of love and justice, would use abuse as a punishment. They are not thinking clearly.

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  3. I think you and I could have a long conversation about this. I have wrestled over the years with the question of why such abhorrent things happen. But I am reassured by what I have been learning this year. It makes me ache every time we see fresh evidence of how low individuals can sink under this present system. If I feel this way, I am sure God feels this way. I can only imagine how much He is longing to bring an end to these horrendously disturbing events.

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  4. The thing about beliefs is that some people don’t question them logically. That might be because of sort of sincere respect for what was taught to them by parents and teachers from their childhood. Some people think it is disrespectful to ask questions, or question God’s actions or decisions. What you mention here is an example of how dangerous that can be, blind faith that does not ask questions can be very harmful. I like the gospels because the prophet Jesus showed questions are a good thing, and that they help you know God better. If an idea does not fit in with who God is than it cannot be true.

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  5. It sounds like the just-world fallacy with a twist of karma. The world is not fair, but by pretending that it is, people can also pretend that bad things couldn’t/wouldn’t happen to them.

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    1. I sort of wonder if that would perhaps make them more vulnerable. Can you imagine some terrible crime being carried out towards you, and then thinking that you deserve it and it occurred as a punishment for some debt you did not know you had, some mistake you cannot learn from. Just being resigned to it as if it must be your fair lot. It makes me worry that anyone who believed that could be resigned to their mistreatment.

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  6. Sadly, I have heard this before. Not sure when or where, but I have. It is so disturbing to think that when they see someone in pain or crisis that it is warranted based on something that happened in a past lifetime. Mind blowing!

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